Batmobile Copyright: When Functional Element Is A 'Character'
Law360, New York (October 1, 2015, 4:09 PM EDT) -- In early 2013, Judge Ronald Lew determined that the Batmobile is a comic book character entitled to full copyright protection in DC Comics v. Towle, 989 F. Supp. 2d 948 (C.D. Cal. Feb. 7, 2013). Just last week, the Ninth Circuit affirmed Judge Lew’s decision, endorsing copyright protection for Batman’s four-wheeled sidekick.
While the Ninth Circuit recognized that copyright protection can extend to “sufficiently distinctive” elements of an original work, like comic book characters, the court cautioned that “[n]ot every comic book, television or motion picture character is entitled to copyright protection.” Distilling wisdom from relevant cases, the Ninth Circuit established...
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